Journal of Community Health

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 813–818 | Cite as

The Impacts of Exposure to Environmental Risk on Physical and Mental Health in a Small Geographic Community in Houston, TX

  • Garett Sansom
  • Juan Parras
  • Ana Parras
  • Yudith Nieto
  • Yvette Arellano
  • Philip Berke
  • Thomas McDonald
  • Eva Shipp
  • Jennifer A. Horney
Original Paper


Previous research has shown that communities with low average socioeconomic status (SES) and majority minority populations are more likely to be exposed to industrial buildings, waste facilities, and poor infrastructure compared to white communities with higher average SES. While some studies have demonstrated linkages between exposures to specific environmental contaminates within these communities and negative health outcomes, little research has analyzed the effects of environmental contaminants on the mental and physical health of these populations. A cross-sectional survey collected data from residents of Manchester, a small neighborhood in Houston, TX, that is characterized by industrial sites, unimproved infrastructure, nuisance flooding, and poor air quality. Our study (N = 109) utilized the 12 item Short Form Health Survey version 2 (SF12v2) to assess the general mental and physical health of the community. The community as a whole had reduced physical health scores compared to U.S. national averages. The time residents had lived in the neighborhood was also correlated with a reported reduction in physical health scores (r2 = 0.136; p-value <0.001). The association between time lived in the neighborhood and poorer health scores remained after adjusting for age, race, and gender (coef = −0.27, p-value <0.001). Mental health scores were within national averages and time spent living in the neighborhood did not appear to negatively impact respondent’s mental health scores. These findings point to the need for more research to determine the potential for additive physical and mental health impacts in long-term residents in neighborhoods characterized by environmental justice issues.


Environmental justice Health assessment SF12 Minority 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsTexas A&M School of Public HealthCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy ServicesHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban PlanningTexas A&M College of ArchitectureCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthTexas A&M School of Public HealthCollege StationUSA

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